It occurred to me that my original intention of having this newsletter has yet to be fulfilled. That intention was to offer meditation/yoga related content that would offer support, inspiration and some direction in the development of your own spiritual interests. And, unfortunately, that intention has fallen short, for which I apologize. Instead, this newsletter has collapsed into an ‘announcement’ blast, informing you of my classes and workshops, but the content has been thin at best. My strongest, but also most hackneyed, excuse is that I’ve had trouble finding the time to keep up with projects, classes and acupuncture AND put out a decent newsletter.
Alas, the solution has finally occurred to me: as part of my meditation classes at North End Yoga, I will often give students a re-cap of the relevant themes and instructions for that class each week, with suggestions for further study. Going forward, those ‘re-cap’ notes will now comprise the elusive ‘content’ of this newsletter: Minute of Mindfulness. So please know that if you see Minute of Mindfulness in your in-box, there will be NO self-promotion, but only reflections on themes covered in my weekly classes.
I hope you will enjoy the material, and please accept my humble apologies. Here are the reflections from my Fundamental Foundations class this week:
- The mindfulness practice that we are developing is not about seeking special states of being or clearing the mind or having a particular experience. Rather, we’re training the mind to be at ease and free with whatever the particular experience of the moment happens to be. In other words, we’re moving towards a freedom of being independent of conditions.
- Mindfulness meditation is a process of experiential learning, where we see very clearly how we are holding life, and whether or not that relationship to life causes suffering or happiness.
- There are two main aspects to the meditation process: i) a process of ‘anchoring’ or settling the mind in the present moment (vis a vis the body and breath) and ii) a process of opening the mind to all of life’s manifestations (something we’ll explore more in subsequent weeks)
Basic Instructions, Part I:
- Sitting in an upright and relaxed posture, either on the floor with a cushion, or in a chair, allow the body and mind to relax.
- Let the awareness rest upon the sensations of breathing in the body, often best to feel the ‘rise’ and ‘fall’ of the abdomen.
- As and when the mind is elsewhere, with something other than the breath, relax and allow the breath to emerge through the relaxation. Through the relaxation, let the breath find you!!
- Nothing is achieved through Will. Instead, it is the sincerity of our intention to be present and aware that allows the practice to unfold. And as I hope you’ll start to discover, everything we seek is already present when we release our search from looking beyond the present.
- Give yourself adequate sleep, suggested 8 hours.
- Formally sit for 5 min, either first thing in the morning or last thing before bed. A day or two off is fine, but aim for at least 5 days this week.
- Try to notice times when you feel in conflict with the way things are. Ask yourself, when you remember to: “Where is the relaxation in this moment?” Or substitute a word of your choice for ‘relaxation’, such as ‘ease’, ‘contentment’ or ‘peace.’
“As we move more deeply into this system for awakening, we remember that everything is accessible at all times and in all places. We are not going anywhere or becoming anyone. We are seeing through the delirium of our mental assumptions and abiding in a true and natural relationship to all things. The optimum environment for awakening is where we are, and nothing needs to be added or subtracted to improve our opportunity.”
– Rodney Smith, Stepping Out of Self-Deception
The enclosed pdf is from a Burmese master, Sayadaw U Tejaniya. He beautifully expresses the correct orientation to practice in this pdf. Some of the teachings may not resonate right now, but from time to time, I recommend refreshing your familiarity with these pages. They are gems. The pdf can be found here under Right Attitude!
Originally published on August 6, 2010